Newly Diagnosed as Pacemaker Dependent. How bad is it?

Helping my 80 yo mother. We went to see the NP today for a check and was surprised to find out she is pacemaker dependent. She had "rare isolated AP second degree blocks" prior to implantation 2 months ago. This seems to have occured right after surgery as her first interogation was showing VP>99.

from NPs notes: "Lead Testing- tested for underlying rhythm, she is pacemaker dependent. When PAV/SAV extended to maximum, she still paces the RV 
 AP: ~40% 
VP: 99% "

How common is it that the pacemaker implantation would cause pacemaker dependency? How dangerous is this?

 


8 Comments

Pacemaker dependent

by AgentX86 - 2022-09-06 22:33:45

It's pretty common in this group.  I'm pacemaker dependent, by choice (AV ablation), because it was the way of finally put an end to the terrible symptoms of my permanent Aflutter. I'm still in flutter but can't feel it.  Great trade dependent/symptoms but it was one that I didn't need to make.

As far as what it's like.  It's like nothing changed.  Other than being told you're dependent, you'd have no way of knowing it. Just tell her to live her life normally. Don't sweat the small stuff.  Life is too short and too fun.  Don't let the small things screw up the fun.

pacer dependent

by Julros - 2022-09-06 22:40:07

I am pacer dependent, but I know that a sophistcated computer is managing my heart rate. I am 99% paced, not because of the pacemaker, but because of a genetic abnormality. I don't feel in danger at all, but I'll like feel a little nervous if I  everget to EBL status. 

AV Block

by Swangirl - 2022-09-07 00:12:40

It's not unusual to morph quickly from a second degree block to a complete block soon after implanting of the PM.  I don't see much risk in being pacemaker dependent.  If the PM malfunctioned I would drop dead quickly, but considering all the other terrible end of life scenarios that doesn't seem like a bad one.  

Theo pacemaker

by PacedNRunning - 2022-09-07 06:09:21

The pacemaker doesn't cause dependency, your own heart does. Block usually gets worse not better. Some progress quicker than others. Mine progressed about 10 mos post implant. Went from barely pacing to 100%. Pacing percent is all how you feel. If she feels fine, great! That's what she needed.

not uncommon

by Tracey_E - 2022-09-07 10:14:56

The pacer will always give the heart a chance to beat on its own before it kicks in. It's reactive and never forces anything. It sounds like her block was worse than they thought, the pacer cannot make it worse. 

It sounds like she was actually in complete block, not 2nd degree. 2nd degree often progresses to 3rd degree.  It's not uncommon to go back and forth between the two before ending up in 3rd degree most of the time so it's not a misdiagnosis, it just depends what her heart was doing when they wrote it down on the chart. It's common to see multiple names for the same thing. You might see complete block, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, av block, wenkenback, bundle branch block. Doesn't much matter what name you put on it, the pacer fixes it all. 

Dependent is just a word, don't give it too much power. Many of us here pace every beat and are dependent.  What would be dangerous is not being paced. She clearly needed it. Is she feeling more energetic now? 

Not as bad as death

by Lavender - 2022-09-07 15:56:37

I'm 100% dependent. So big deal-my heart needed help and the pacemaker saved my life. Otherwise the conduction disease would have progressed anyway and there I would be with no backup plan. 
 

Your mom has a good daughter who is worrying too much. Do yourself and her a favor and relax because she's got her battery pack. It's reliable. 

100% dependent

by Stache - 2022-09-17 20:43:04

I have a 3rd-degree heart block and 100% dependent with two stents.  I have had to learn to accept my bionic heartbeat.  At first, I could feel each beat, and to be honest, it scared me.  Over time I don't feel the heartbeats useless I am very still.  It reassures me to feel my heartbeat now knowing my pacer is the reason I am alive.  Acceptance was difficult for me, I am not at 20-months and still sorting it out.

Born pacemaker dependent

by elementaryedu - 2022-09-25 23:45:56

Good evening! I am very sorry to hear that your mom is having health problems. But I would like to share with you just a little bit of my story in hopes of easing your mind...

I am 100% pacemaker dependent. My dependency is not due to having a pacemaker implanted, but rather, I was born with third degree AV block. I received my first pacemaker the day I was born (just a few hours old). I am now 38 years old. I have been 100% dependent on a packemaker my whole life. I understand the fear and trepidation that can come along with this. I have experienced it many times over the years. But if I can say anything, let me say this...being pacemaker dependent does not take away one's life. Rather, it it is a gift from God, and it gives a new lease on life. As with anything, there will be bumps in the road and hurdles that have to be crossed, but pacemakers are a wonderful medical intervention that saves lives and adds quality to lives. 

It sounds like your mom has a wonderful daughter who is concerned with her health and well-being. Try to relax and rest assured that pacemakers are wondeful, life-sustaining gifts from the One who created us. 

You know you're wired when...

You participate in the Pacer Olympics.

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